If a child does not frequently empty the bladder, a urinary tract infection may develop. Abnormal potty habits are the most common cause of urinary tract infections in children. Girls are more prone to infections than boys, because they have a shorter urethra that is close to the rectum. This configuration allows bacteria to more easily enter the bladder and vagina.
Bladder infections (cystitis) usually present with burning, frequency, urgency, and incontinence. Bladder infections are problematic, but they do not usually cause significant damage to the kidneys or bladder. Kidney infections (pyelonephritis), on the other hand, usually present with fever, back pain, nausea, and fatigue. Infections in the kidney can cause severe damage and scarring.
Urinary tract infections warrant an evaluation and treatment by a physician. Kidney and bladder tests and x-rays are usually performed in children with urinary tract infections. Abnormalities or birth defects of the bladder, ureter (kidney tube), or kidney may be discovered, including vesicoureteral reflux.
Dr. Smith is board certified and he has authored or co-authored many articles, papers, chapters, and books in Urology and Pediatric Urology. His research has been presented throughout the world. Dr. Smith’s dedication to helping children with urologic problems inspired him to establish PottyMD.